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Google Fiber Opens Customer Signups In Austin

Google Fiber on Monday kicked off signups for select areas of Austin, Texas, an announcement that comes about a week after the company announced its pricing plans for the region.

Google Fiber, which unveiled plans to build its 1-Gig network in Austin in April of 2013, announced on its blog today (Dec. 1) that it is starting the sign-up process for prospective residential and small business customers in so-called “fiberhoods” in the south and southeast areas of the city. 

Similar to the process it originally launched in the Kansas City area, Google Fiber is using a demand-based process to determine which fiberhoods in Austin will actually get service. As such, only those that meet their preregistration signup goals will qualify to get service from Google Fiber. 

Google Fiber has already set signup deadlines for its initial deployment wave. The deadline for the first area, Bluebonnet, is January 29, 2015, to be followed by Lady Bird Lake (March 12); Emerald Forest (April 23); Ben White (June 4); and Onion Creek (July 16). Other portions of Austin are in Google Fiber’s “planned” region.

At least one part of Bluebonnet (Bluebonnet 31) has already reached its signup goal, and several more are closing in. At last check, Bluebonnet 21, for example, needed only six more signups, while Bluebonnet 24 needed eight more.

Google Fiber also announced Monday that it is opening its Fiber Space in downtown Austin, where prospective customers can take 1-Gig for a spin. 

Google said last week that it would offer three service plans in Austin – a standalone 1-Gig service for $70 per month; a Gigabit/TV bundle starting at $130 per month, and a free “basic” Internet service (5 Mbps down by 1 Mbps) up, so long as customers spring for the $300 construction fee. Its 1-Gig service for small businesses, offered through a recently announced Early Access Program, fetches $100 per month.

As it builds out its network in Austin, Google Fiber will face off with Grande Communications, which launched 1-Gig in Austin in February and recently moved ahead on an expansion; and AT&T, which is selling a 1-Gig “GigaPower” service in pockets of Austin. Time Warner Cable, Austin's incumbent cable operator, recently completed an upgrade in Austin that bumps its former 50 Mbps (downstream) DOCSIS 3.0 tier to 100 Mbps.

Google Fiber also has services launched in parts of Kansas City and Provo, Utah, and is also exploring expansions to another nine metro markets and up to 34 cities. Google Fiber is expected to announce its expansion picks before the end of 2014.